Hinds Community College, in Raymond, is one of the few institutions of higher learning in the country offering courses in the flying and maintaining drones. The radio controlled airplanes are growing in popularity and have been used with deadly efficiency by the CIA.
The unmanned aerial vehicles come in various shapes and sizes ranging in costs from $130 to millions.
At the John Bell Williams Airport, north of Raymond, nine students, ranging in age from 19 to 38 are learning how to fly and maintain drones. Dennis Lott is a consultant and instructor at Hinds who has spent his entire life flying remote controlled airplanes.
"The last U. S. manned fighter is the F-35," said Lott. "All future development is unmanned."
The instructor in charge in the drone program at Hinds is Randy Pearcy.
"The commercial side of the business, I think we will see just a multitude of job opportunities," said Pearcy.
Right now drones are limited to 400 foot altitudes, except for those flown by the military and law enforcement. Congress has ordered the FAA to change that, allowing domestic use, by 2015.
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